Friday, March 19, 2010

Judging Judge Kelly on Deck Coddling In Child Molestation Sentence

Posted by CotoBlogzz 03-19-2010

SANTA ANA, CA  - Judge Marc Kelly sentenced today Stephen Robert Deck, a now-retired Lieutenant for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to one year in jail, five years of formal probation, and sex offender registration. The sentence was vigorously opposed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) and the recommendation of the Orange County Department of Probation (OCDP).

Deck, a CHP Lieutenant was sentenced for attempting to commit unlawful sexual acts with a fictitious 13-year-old girl, whom he believed was real, after meeting the girl online and engaging in explicit sexual conversations.

Deck, 55, Carlsbad, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 22, 2009, of one felony count of attempted lewd acts on a child under 14. The OCDA's office  objected to the sentence, advocating for the maximum sentence allowed by law, four years in state prison. OCDP recommended state prison, finding that "with regard to the serious nature of the offense, it is believed the defendant could be a future threat to the community and is not viewed as a suitable candidate for probation, even if he were eligible."

"It sends the wrong message to the public when a high ranking police officer who tried to molest a 13-year-old girl gets coddled by the criminal justice system," stated Public Affairs Counsel Susan Kang Schroeder. "A child predator police officer should not get a break and a pass on state prison. His violation of trust makes his crime more serious not less."

Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman argued today in court that this is an aggravated case, that the defendant should be denied probation and sentenced to the upper term.  The defendant violated a position of trust and used his knowledge, experience, and training as a peace officer to assist in committing this crime and in avoiding detection. The defendant has not taken responsibility for his conduct and that it is clear from the other evidence recovered during the investigation, this case was not an isolated incident. He further argued that the defendant's crime involved planning and thought; it was not a spur of the moment mistake. The prosecutor also stated that it was abundantly clear that if the undercover decoy in this case was a real 13-year-old girl, Deck would have molested her.  Deck, of all people, should have known the consequences of these actions, yet his sexual desires for a 13-year-old girl were too powerful to control.  The prosecutor concluded that the defendant is a sexual predator who deserves to be imprisoned in state prison for the maximum term allowable under law.

Beginning Feb. 12, 2006, Deck initiated contact and engaged in sexually explicit conversations over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. The defendant was actually communicating with an adult citizen volunteer from, a non-profit organization aimed at protecting children from Internet sexual predators. Over several days, Deck had numerous online and phone conversations with a woman who told him she was a 13-year-old girl. He inquired if the girl liked older men, made graphic sexual statements and sexually suggestive comments about eating pie, and arranged to meet the "victim" in Laguna Beach.

On Feb. 18, 2006, Deck drove from San Diego County to Laguna Beach with the intention of committing unlawful sexual acts with the fake 13-year-old. When Deck arrived at the pre-arranged location, he was in possession of a digital camera and key lime pie and several condoms were located in his car. Deck was arrested upon attempting to make contact with the fictitious 13-year-old girl. Soon after his arrest, he said there would be "intent issues" with his case and that it would be tough to convict a law enforcement officer in Orange County.  This statement was excluded by the judge and did not come into the trial.

During the trial, the OCDA presentenced evidence that Deck had engaged in graphic, sexually explicit online conversations with two additional young girls, both of whom identified themselves as 13 years old. The defendant discussed wanting to meet each of the children and had a conversation with one of them suggesting that she sexually touch her 10-year-old sister. During sentencing, Deck only expressed remorse after he was convicted by a jury, crying and asking for probation while awaiting sentencing.

Deck, along with 12 other men, was arrested as a result of a law enforcement sting targeting Internet sexual predators in February 2006. The sting was conducted by the Laguna Beach Police Department, Orange County Department of Probation, and Orange County District Attorney's Office, with help from  The status of the other 12 defendants is as follows. The occupation and city of residence for each defendant is based on their status at the time of arrest.

A warrant was issued in July 2006 for Norindra Say, 38, Tustin, engineer, who fled after making several court appearances. Say is featured as one of the 10 Most Wanted fugitives on the Orange County District Attorney's website at

Robert Carlos Alarcia, 33, Los Angeles, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 180 days in jail and sex offender registration. Deep Arora, 23, Placentia, unemployed, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to one year in jail and sex offender registration.

Shih-Hung Chuang, 35, Hacienda Heights, importer, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and sex offender registration. Nery Roberto Folgar, 33, Alta Dena, salesperson, Benjamin Paul McAlister, 25, Loomis, student, Ryan Arnell Mount, 33, North Hollywood, unemployed, and John Inkyoo Yi, 47, Anaheim, laborer, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year in jail and sex offender registration. David Phuong Pham, 34, Los Angeles, unemployed, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and sex offender registration. Jonathan Augustine Reese, 44, Westchester, supervisor at Starbucks, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 240 days in jail and sex offender registration. Benjamin Alan Taul, 31, Placentia, bartender, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail.   Jimmy Miguel Varela, 36, Norwalk, unemployed, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.

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